There are several different kinds of eye health issues spanning from mild to severe. Some are much more common than others, but some are more detrimental. Here are the top 5 most common eye health issues in the United States.
Occasional Dry Eye
Defined by symptoms ranging from dryness, irritation, and burning to excessive watering and the feeling of a foreign particle in the eye, occasional dry eye is a wide-ranging eye health issue. Perhaps its staggering numbers can be partially attributed to these varying symptoms. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that anywhere between 16.7 million and 50.2 million Americans have occasional dry eye, making it the #1 most common eye health issue in the U.S.
Occasional dry eye can be caused by both internal and external triggers:
- Age (65+)
- Gender (female)
- Medications (antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medication, etc.
- Medical conditions (autoimmune issues)
- Unbalanced tear film (meibomian gland dysfunction, poor diet, etc.)
- Environment (seasonal changes, dry air, etc.)
- Ocular surgery (LASIK, glaucoma, cataract, etc.)
- Contact lenses
EyePromise® has a nutritional solution specifically designed to help relieve occasional dry eye from the inside out. Learn more about EyePromise EZ Tears.
Blood Sugar Control Issues
While not usually associated with eye health, blood sugar control issues affect 38.1 million adults in the U.S., and 1 in 3 have early signs of it, giving it the second spot on our list. Blood sugar control issues affect vision through their impact on blood vessels. If uncontrolled, elevated blood glucose levels can weaken the delicate vessels found in the eye. This can lead to those vessels leaking, which ultimately can lead to vision loss. The scariest part: it’s not if, but when people with blood sugar control issues develop this vision-threatening concern.
Currently, an estimated 899,000 Americans have vision that’s affected by blood sugar control issues, and it’s the leading cause of vision loss in working aged Americans. Symptoms include blurriness, floaters, darkened areas of vision and difficulty perceiving color. Protecting your eye health in relation to blood sugar control starts with getting blood glucose levels regulated. Then, you need EyePromise DVS. Learn more about how DVS can help support eye and vascular health.
Arriving at number 3 on the list, cataracts affect nearly 20.5 million Americans. Typically impacting those 40 years and older, a cataract is a cloudy or thick area in the lens of the eye, and it can impact one or both eyes. The cloudiness is typically caused by an injury or aging changing the tissue that makes up that part of the eye. Most people notice blurred/cloudy/foggy/filmy vision as the first sign of a cataract, followed by sensitivity to light.
The difference with cataracts compared to the first two eye health issues is that cataracts can be fixed surgically. In fact, 6.1 million people have had a cataract operation. This involves removing the affected lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. While surgeries are successful at clearing the cataract, they often lead to patients experiencing occasional dry eye.
As the leading cause of vision loss among African Americans and Hispanics in the U.S., glaucoma is an eye health issue that affects more than 3 million Americans. Glaucoma actually refers to a group of eye health concerns that can cause pressure buildup in the eye that impacts the optic nerve. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common type, has little to no symptoms other than slow vision loss. Blurred or distorted vision is typically what those who do experience symptoms notice.
The most common care protocols are medication and beta blockers, but more extreme measures like a trabeculoplasty (medical procedure in which a laser is used to increase drainage and reduce pressure in the eye) or surgery (intensely hot and focused beam of light removes tissue and controls bleeding) may be taken.
Age-Related Eye Health Issues
While it’s last on the list, age-related eye health issues are a growing problem in the U.S. Nearly 2 million Americans over 40 have age-related eye health problems, with an additional 10 or so million in the early stages and don’t know they have it. Age-related eye health issues occur when a part of the eye known as the macula becomes damaged, causing central vision loss.
Like some of the other eye health issues on this list, many don’t know they have age-related eye health issues until it’s too late. Symptoms typically include blurred or distorted vision to where straight lines look wavy, but by this time, the damage has been done. However, you can proactively protect your eyes with EyePromise Restore. Learn more about how EyePromise Restore can help protect and enhance your vision.
The U.S. population is no stranger to eye health issues, but there are steps that can be taken to help preserve your vision. Schedule your annual eye exam and take the EyePromise quiz to find out which product is right for you!